Monthly Archives: March 2011

U.S. Patent Office in Silicon Valley

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March 29  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

The U.S. Patent Office is working to reduce the patent approval process from an average of three years to a more competitive 18 months.
Kudos to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Patent Office Director David Kappos – a former IBM Executive – for streamlining a notoriously bureaucratic process.
In Silicon Valley, we know that three years equates to about four product cycles, slowing down innovation and job creation. It’s time for step two – a regional patent office in Silicon Valley. A regional office was recently approved – not for the world’s Capitol of Innovation – but for Detroit, Michigan.
Legislation is under consideration for three more regional offices. Silicon Valley is a natural. On April 14, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Joint Venture: Silicon Valley will host Mr. Kappos to rally support for a regional office, right here in Silicon Valley. Let’s break down barriers to innovation, rather than erect them. To join us, visit

San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo

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March 23  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Two public sector labor unions took to the pages of the San Jose Mercury News for a 600-word op/ed personally attacking San Jose City Councilmember Sam Liccardo about recent concerns he raised on budget and pension reforms currently under consideration.

Councilman Liccardo praised the progress of discussions with the firefighters union, but fears it’s not enough to adequately address the budget shortfall.

One can agree or disagree with his assessment, but that debate should focus on dollars and cents, not demonizing the messenger with personal attacks and character assaults. In 600 words, the two union leaders didn’t deny Liccardo’s logic. Instead, they cast aspersions on his motives.

Let’s back-up. We’re best served when we attack issues – rather than the individuals or institutions who raise them.

California State Budget

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March 9  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

As Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones reminds us, “You can’t always get what you want – but you can get what you need.”
That is the tune Governor Jerry Brown is singing to both Democrat and Republican state legislators, as he tries to close a 26 billion dollar hole in our state budget.
• Painful cuts
• Temporary tax extensions

On March 8, SunPower CEO Tom Werner – chair of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Board of Directors, along with board member Tim Guertin, CEO of Varian, accompanied me to Sacramento for an hour-long dialogue with the Governor on his budget. We also had an in-depth discussion on the need for:
• A California jobs & economic plan,
• Meaningful budget & governance reforms
• Pension reform
• Regulatory reform

We urge legislators to find common ground, both on the budget and these important issues. This budget has items everyone can hate & everyone can love. Done right – legislators may not get everything they want, but Californians will get what we need: a balanced budget and a path forward.

The Tour of California

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March 2  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

For the fourth straight year, the Tour of California professional bicycle race is coming to San José. On May 18, some of the best cyclists on the planet will climb to a breath-taking mountain-top finish up Sierra Road – a 3.9 mile climb at an average grade of 12 percent.
Yet the real climb was made by Mayor Reed and the San José City Council, to keep the race in San José during difficult budget times.
To underwrite the race, the city sought a public-private partnership – in this case with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group – to raise roughly half the money.
Such is the respect among Valley employers for the mayor, the council and the city, that in one email to a small segment of our member companies, more than $150,000 was pledged – most from Valley firms not headquartered in San José, but part of the Silicon Valley family.
The Tour of California is much more than a bicycle race, it is a celebration of health and fitness. It also represents a viable option to the automobile and is a great example of the private sector stepping up to the plate to work with our public sector partners.
It’s not possible to fund every worthy request, but these partnerships – whether through time, talent or treasure – will further strengthen the bonds that make our Valley a community.